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"A penny for your thoughts"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Man with 86 Wives

21 October 2008-Chief Magistrate Court in Minna, Niger State capital yesterday granted protective bail to Alhaji Mohammed Bello Masaba, restricting him to only 4 wives. Masaba is currently standing trial for allegedly insulting Islamic religious creeds contrary to the state penal code. The magistrate stated that Muslim Youths in Bida home of the octogenarian with 86 wives and over 100 children took to the streets recently not only to denounce his position but passed Fatwa death sentence on him. The trial Magistrate, Ahmed Bima, said granting the accused bail would not be in his best interest and that of the society. He, therefore, ruled that he was granting Bello-Masaba a protective bail, ordering him to stay in Minna during the duration of the trial, with the state government providing him with a suitable accommodation. The case has been adjourned till November 5 for further hearing.

External links: Adesina Ogunlana comment on fatwa

Nigerian Mohammed Bello Abubakar is a short, slightly built,84-year-old, former teacher and Muslim preacher, who lives in Niger State has 86 wives and at least 170 children. He says his wives have sought him out because of his reputation as a healer. Mr Bello Abubakar says there is no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives. Mr Bello Abubakar and his wives do not work and he has no visible means of supporting such a large family.

Bello Masaba has refused to explain where he gets the money to feed and clothe such a large family. Every mealtime they cook three 12kg bags of rice which all adds up to $915 (£457) every day. According to one of his wives, Mr Bello Abubakar sometimes asks his children to go and beg for 200 naira ($1.69, £0.87), which if they all did so would bring in about $290 (£149).

Most of his wives live in a squalid, unfinished house in Bida; others live in his house in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.Most sleep three and more to a room in the dank and crowded home.

"It's all from God," he says. He claims the Prophet Muhammad speaks to him personally and gives detailed descriptions of his experiences. He now faces charges of insulting the religious creed for his inflammatory comments about Islam when he drew attention during his interviews to local journalists and television crews claiming he had special God-given powers and challenged accepted interpretation of the Islamic holy book, the Koran. In years past, he kept quiet and nobody bothered him. His 86 wives are mounting a protest to get their husband out of prison because, they say, they are happy with their unconventional arrangement. He will appear Oct6 in court for the charge.

Related Post : Why do men take second wives?

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